A Tangle of Talent.
This weekend Jangleheart Circus takes over The Den Theatre for the second time with over 80 shows scheduled. The team from Upstairs Gallery has put together a knock-out festival and every show looks amazing. I pulled out a few shows I’m recommending below, but I know I’m leaving out a number of must-sees. Take these recommendations as you may, but definitely go to this festival — a ton of great shows.
Cool Jacket (UG House team)
The Charles Honnet Real Good Time Stage 7pm-8pm
Saturday, The Charles Honnet Real Good Time Stage 9pm-10pm
Eli Mandel, Mike Finn, Harrison George
Cool Jacket has been around for a while and while all three are very talented performers, Mike Finn is one of the most underrated improvisers I’ve ever seen. If nothing else, just go to see him play.
The Charles Honnet Real Good Time Stage 8pm-9pm
Richard Joyce, Sean Rose, Adam Goron
Collector’s Edition is a live-lit series about music, written and presented by certified-broken pop obsessives. Personal essays, pop history lessons, staged bits and live music come together to help make sense of some of pop music’s most tangled subjects. A really unique show if you’re looking for a bit of variety.
Formal Apology (UG House team)
Wolfs Den 9pm-10pm
Friday, Scraps Castle 7pm-8pm
Jose Molina, Greg Worsley, John Reynolds, Zephian Michals
Formal Apology, or the Four Horsemen of the Apocalaughs was formed early in 2010. You will have as much fun watching their show as they will have performing it for you. Guaranteed.
Hunkz R Us (UG House team)
Crabby Cove 10pm-12am
Saturday, Crabby Cove 10pm-11pm
John Reynolds, Gary Richardson and a guest
John Reynolds and Gary Richardson are two improvisers you must see. Guest is pretty good too.
Wolfs Den 12am-1am
Greg Ott, AJ Miller, Randeal Colburn, Eric Schinzer, JT Butler, Wink Stone
Play Ground performs a brand new, never-before-seen play that the author didn’t have a chance to finish. Using a beginning, middle, and ending scene provided by the playwright (that the cast has never seen before), the gaps in the story are improvised are improvised as close to the original story as possible. Greg Ott is a brilliant writer, so if nothing else, I expect the writing to be amazing.
Friday, Scraps Caste 8pm-9pm
Kyle Bethea, Jorin Garguilo, Ellen Haeg, John Pantiland, Pat Raynor, Louis Saunders, Farrell Walsh, Laura Wilkinson, Mike Johnson
Rainbow Deli performs regularly at CIC on Saturday nights and they are a community favorite. They come highly recommended.
Crabby Cove 8pm-9pm
Tim Dunn, Tyler Paterson, Sarah Shockey
Shock T’s have been playing together as an improv band for the last three years. You can check them out ahead of time and see how you feel by looking up their album World Tour 2010 on iTunes or Spotify. If you miss them this weekend, you can also check them out at LAFS RIOT, October 2nd.
Pizza Party (UG House team)
The Charles Honnet Real Good Time Stage 9pm-10pm
Saturday, Scraps Castle 11pm-12am
Walt Delaney, Alex Honnet, Brian McGovern
Pizza Party is one of my favorite teams I’ve seen play. These guys know each other really well and play off one another like a ping pong on a table – fast, light and natural. If you aren’t around this weekend, you can also catch them at LAFS RIOT, October 2nd.
SILK – Chicago, IL – Friday, Crabby Cove 10pm-11pm
Drew Kearse, Rashawn Scott, Matt Lusk, Caleb George
Four crazy talented improvisers. Rashawn Scott just got hired with The Second City and Drew, Matt and Caleb have been playing together for years. These guys and gal are smooth. All puns intended.
The Charles Honnet Real Good Time Stage 10pm-11pm
Ryan Asher, Mary Catherine Curran, Sara Gaare, Susan Glynn
MRS. is an all lady, all business sketch group Sara is leaving Chicago so this will be her last show. All of these ladies are funny, but if this is your last chance to see Sara Gaare on stage, please take it.
Wolfs Den 11pm-12am
Blythe Haaga, John Anderson, Wes Haney, Molly Wilbanks-Anderson, Claire Mullaney, Gary Richardson, Nick Leveski, Mike Kelly, George Mcauliffe, Ray Gordon
A ton of former Chicago comedians are all coming back for this reunited performance. This doesn’t happen a lot, so don’t miss your chance to see Chicago talent now representing coast to coast.
Scraps Castle 11pm-12am
An interactive comedy show where comics plus real people tell true drinking stories. The Blackout Diaries was created in 2009 and has been a critics pick in The Chicago Reader, Timeout Chicago, The Chicago Red Eye, Onion AV Club more. The Blackout Diaries are a staple in the community. A must-see.
Scraps Castle 6pm-7pm
Dan White, Mike Jimerson
Truth is, I’m a huge fan of anything Mike Jimerson is involved in. Since this show will be a world of characters, I can’t wait to see what they come up with.
Wolfs Den 7pm-10pm
Steph Cook, Alex Honnet, Chandler Goodman, Kyle Chorpening, Ray Gordon, Lindsey Stelte, Carmen Christopher, Tim Lyons, Ellen Haeg
11/22 creates a new form for every show inspired by an improv show or movie they saw recently that they hated and turn it on it’s head. In all the best ways.
Ballerball Presents: The Dick Bavetta Variety Hour – Chicago, IL – Saturday Wolfs Den 8pm-9pm
Chandler Goodman, Jason Gallagher, Tyler Parker, Mike Brunlieb, Scott Nelson, Lawrence Collerd, Blythe Haaga, Dan Bazaldua
The Dick Bavetta Variety Hour a collection of characters and commentary rooted in a love of the NBA and is produced and hosted by the authors of the basketball comedy blog Ballerball (www.ballerball.com), a Chicago-based member of ESPN’s True Hoop affiliate network. The show will feature pieces from that site re-purposed for performance, as well as original material from some of the writers’ many basketball-crazed friends. If you like to catch and fire from deep, this show is for you. Jason Gallagher also wrote The Lockout and produces some of the best quality content I’ve seen. If you’re a basketball fan this, this show is for you.
Listin up – Chicago, IL – Saturday, Wolfs Den 11pm-12am
Improv and stand up collide in this show unlike any other in Chicago with this chaos produced by Dan Friesen (The Comedy Evening) and Daniel Shar (Phat Beethoven). Friesen books some of his favorite comedians to do improvised stand up based on set lists created by the audience on their way into the theater. Concurrently, Shar books enough of his favorite improvisers to form different mash-up groups to each use the preceding stand up’s actual set list from a recent show as their source material for an improv set. It’s off the cuff stand up, and off the list improv.
Oh Theodora – Chicago, IL – Saturday, Crabby Cove 11pm-12am
Buck LePard, Trevor Martin, Lisa Feriend
Another community favorite. Oh Theodora receives rave reviews from fellow improvisers all over the city, so that’s saying something.
Weirdos Exposed presented by The Steamroller
The Charles Honnet Real Good Time Stage 12am-1am
Matt Byrne (producing,) Devin Bockrath, Annie Donley, John Eisenrich, Joe Kwaczala
The Steamroller, a Chicago comedy blog, presents standup/solo sketch/readings from a bunch of frequent contributors/site favorites. Ian Abramson hosts Devin Bockrath, Annie Donley, John Eisenrich, and Joe Kwaczala taking turns doing whatever they want!
(Originally appeared on ChooseChicago.com)